every VFX oscar winner

Like all art, film changes with the times and it is the duty of every serious connoisseur to track these changes, to absorb them. And while the year in which a film was made can be given away by everything from actor to film stock to cultural references, visual effects remain the fastest way to establish when a film was produced. Matte paintings and rear projection have given way to green screens and handmade creatures have given way to motion capture, but visual effects have been an effective tool (and occasionally a crutch) since the birth of cinema.

A new supercut has put together clips from every film to win the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and it’s a very fun watch, encapsulating nearly a century of Hollywood filmmaking and craft into less than ten minutes. Watch closely and can you can see the moments when pop culture shifts forever.

Assembled by Burger Fiction (whose supercut of movie phone calls is also a pleasure to watch), the video takes us from Wings in 1928 all the way through Interstellar‘s victory at last year’s awards ceremony. It’s fascinating to watch what takes home the gold as years go by: weather effects and historical recreations soon give way to genre films (especially science fiction), and CGI slowly begins overtaking practical effects in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Sometimes, a movie truly feels ahead of its time, with 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Thief of Baghdad looking like they belong in a different decade than their peers.

I don’t know about you people, but I’m particularly fond of the visual effects in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the original War of the Worlds, both of which have stuck with me for years.

If you’re curious about why the video skips a decade, Burger Fiction has supplied this quick history of the Best Visual Effects Academy Award:

For the 1927/28 Academy awards, the award was for engineering effects. There was no award again until 1938 where it was called a special award “for outstanding achievement in creating special photographic and sound effects. The very next year the award was combined with sound effects and called the Award for Special Effects. It wasn’t until 1963 that the award became the Award for Best Visual Effects (which it is still called today). It was given every year from 1963 to present, with the exception of 1973.

For the record, this year’s crop of Best Visual Effects nominees includes Ex Machina, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Which one of them gets to join next year’s updated supercut?

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